students

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One of the most beautiful aspects of the summer is that it’s vacation time for students. And just as the rest of us are inclined to fall into routine, to live our lives automatically, like unfeeling robots (with a headache, at times), so too, students can get into the habit of learning bits of information by heart, and collecting them under the tongue or in the inner ear, till they start sliding out the nose. How wonderful, and how necessary, the vacation. And in honor of summer vacation, let me share with you my thoughts on this very special occupation.

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Unlike monks, priests, rabbis, nuns, religious or monastic men and women, there is one category of holiness that requires no ascetic self discipline. That is the role of the student, who follows his curiosity, and grows day by day, increasing his understanding of the world around and within him, his awareness of his fellow man, and his love for all living things and even the inanimate objects that make up our universe.

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Unfortunately, because society has deemed it necessary for children and youths to study certain functional bits of knowledge, and combined this need with the need of adults to be rid of children for the majority of the day… so that they, the adults, may be free to work, there has been an ever growing resentment towards study. This anger becomes more acute, and at times turns to outright hatred when the ‘baby sitting’ is accompanied by torturous tests which humiliate the so-called student.

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But those who have tasted the sweetness of study for its own sake, and have opened their hearts and minds to the thirst for knowledge, there is no pleasure that can compete with learning, for it is in itself a transcendental experience. The study hall is richer than the finest palace, and its occupants melt from pleasure as their awareness grows without bounds or boundaries. Nothing is forbidden. Everything makes sense. If not at first, then eventually. The student learns to be self assured in the knowledge that whatever is known by another human being can be learned by any man or woman.

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The true student doesn’t study for the sake of a degree. He has no need for prizes or awards. Even if graduated or accredited in his profession, he continues to apply himself diligently because learning is uplifting and fills him with joy. Our greatest teachers were simple craftsmen who didn’t make a profession either of learning or teaching.

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Study itself is best unselfish. Students take great pleasure in sharing their knowledge. And the best teacher is one’s fellow student who’s taken an extra step ahead. All the social stigmas fade and disappear in the study hall. One’s personal wealth is negligible. Beauty is skin deep. Toys and luxuries are forgotten. The more one learns, the stronger one becomes. Not like the muscle builders on the beach who become bound and crippled by their overwhelming muscles, the wise student becomes more sensitive and modest with each passing day, and more aware of the infinite presence of the universe. His or her determination to learn more is not for the sake of self aggrandizement, but out of love for the world as it is.

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Tests… yes, there are tests. Life is full of tests. As long as we are alive and conscious we are tested. We may choose to avoid, to evade, or try to escape those tests, but they come running after us with indefatigable determination. The test of knowledge is that it be clear in your mouth. So that if someone asks you something, you need not hesitate, and then tell it to him. You should be able tell it to him immediately, and in such a way that it is easily understood.

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The photos seen here are of students and their living quarters at the University of Ariel. Oh what a pleasure it is to be a student.

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62 responses to “students

  1. Reblogged this on Jr Marcin Iwankiewicz and commented:
    Being student is quite more to it than we realise! 🙂

  2. Good morning dear Shimon…..I love this post, and of course I love to learn…and believe that if we open up to the possibility, we are students for all of our lives….how wonderful is that? A dear friend of mine in the States a very famous physicist once said to me a few years before he died….’What every you do my dear…stay curious for the rest of your life’.

    For those who berate studying and students….I feel so sorry for them….Here’s to all the students in the world ready to embark on a marvellous summer of acquiring knowledge.

    By the way I love the cat, but then I would, wouldn’t I:) Have a lovely weekend, dear Shimon. Janet. xx

    • As usual, we agree, Janet. Keeping our eyes open, curiosity, and learning all the time is the spice and joy of life. It seems to me that some of the curiosity fades with age, but we compensate with a measure of understanding. Thanks so much for joining me in my salute to the students. I believe that as artists, we know that vacations are the time for peak activity, and I suppose that the good students learn even more on their vacations than they learn in the school year. My very best to you always. xxx

  3. Very nice-very true. My student days were some of the happiest in my life. Happy again here, going to school to learn Swedish. Very nice photos. Love the cat photo!

    • You have my admiration, Bruce, learning another language in midlife. But it’s possible, I’m sure. I had a dear friend who learned a language at the age of 80! Wishing you great success. And so happy I’ve found another comrade who appreciates cats the way I do.

  4. What a wonderful phrase: ‘ the test of knowledge is that it be clear in your mouth.’ There are many skills just in trying to achieve this: not only, that we should thoroughly understand, but also, that we are able to articulate it in a way other people can receive and respect. Enthusiasm is one of the best teachers, and the sort of learning I love most is that which leads me to greater wisdom. Now there’s a bottomless fountain!

    • Yes, we have many reasons for joy, Gill. We students have it good. There is so much to learn. We’ll never run out of good material. And almost all of it is free for the asking. I agree with you that enthusiasm is one of the best teachers… and as for the human teachers, most of them are either sweet or amusing. Just discussing the subject brings a smile to my face. Thanks very much for the comment.

  5. I feel like I’m facing almost too many tests, this summer, Shimon, but this was a calming and centering post for me; thank you. I am an inveterate student and cannot imagine living any other way than open and curious, even when the lessons are coming almost too rapidly. Thank you, again, for these thoughts and wonderful photographs.

    • Yes, I know what you’re talking about, Kitty. Sometimes there’re too many tests. And they can be very hard. We look back and remember that in school they used to give us a couple weeks warning in advance… and we’d know what was going to be tested. But in real life, it doesn’t work that way. It’s always a surprise. And usually without a second date for a retest. But I also know that you’re a serious student, with a great big heart. So I have confidence in you. Wishing you good luck, and reminding you that good spirits and lots of sleep are a great advantage when we have tests to meet.

  6. Wonderful thoughts, Shimon. I always considered academic tests to be a part of life, being brainwashed from childhood to that fact, as it were. They measured my understanding of information given out by whomever. Tests also come to us in life, but in working through them, we also add knowledge. LEARNING, though? Ah, an entirely different animal and one of my favorite ‘pets.’ The one truth I’ve discovered is this: the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know, but I attempt to add to my knowledge base every day in various ways. Being a student is my passion. Curiosity is my best friend and constant companion. I am grateful for that. I find constant joy in what I learn, whether from reading, travel, new hobbies, observation or wonderful discussions with others. My father remained curious until his death at the age of 97. I hope I can do the same.

    • What you say about ‘the more we learn’ is so true, Myra. And that’s one of the reasons that the very best students are so modest. It is wonderful having a father like yours, but since I also had such a father, I know that there are challenges all along the way. But you have my good wishes, that you do at least as good as he did… even better if possible. I am sure that is what he would have wanted for you, I’m sure. It is always very good to see our children do better than we did. Thanks so much for your comment.

  7. Beautiful post. I love studying, be it formal studying or just those lovely discoveries and explorations one makes. Great pictures. Have a happy weekend Shimon.

    • Yes, there are some differences between eating our favorite dinner in pajamas or in a suit and tie… but it is always a delight. Thank you very much for your comment, Olga. And my best wishes to you for a life filled with learning and happiness.

  8. At about my 3rd year of college I had the thought of how great it would be to be a lifetime college student. Little did I realize that it would continue regardless of where I was. I just had become comfortable with that particular surrounding. That had followed me all the way to the end product of a qualified surgeon and that “site”…was the Operating Room. In discussing learning with a very dear friend who had his PhD in Computer Technology back in 1963, we realized that our brains functioned in such a manner that the more one learned, the more one was able to learn. Then, realizing some situations that showed this. Learning to type (now called keyboarding) improved ones learning ability. That was followed by learning to knit and or chrochet, and unusually…Morse Code. Like DaVinci, I took notes in mirrored fashion and to improve my dexterity (in planning ahead to be a surgeon), I wrote and took notes both left and right handedly. It was a major help in doing surgery as I could tie a knot with either hand. (Even with my eyes shut 🙂 ) Yes, we are students our entire life. I was so proud of my memory. I wont brag here. But my father having Alzheimers and then realizing it seems to be happening to me at an ever increasing speed….I’m so sad of losing Any memory. I live in fear and have no recourse but to fight it. And so it goes. Wonderful post Shimon…as always.
    Be Well.

    • Your comment reminded me of my own student days, and some of the experiments we tried, just to see what the brain could do. There was a great joy in all that. And like yourself, I was very pleased to discover that learning wasn’t restricted to a certain period in a person’s life, but could go on indefinitely. It has been a source of pleasure all my life. I don’t know how serious your symptoms are, but I can certainly understand and sympathize with the dread of losing one’s memory. There are two things that I can tell you from my own experience. The first is that a few years ago I started noticing little memory black outs, and difficulties performing certain mental tasks that had once been easy for me. I discussed it with my doctor, whom I trust implicitly. He told me that there is a certain amount of deterioration in every human being from about thirty years of age onward, but assured me that my situation was good, and promised to tell me if he noticed abnormal functioning. Secondly, I had a very close friend who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and my mother, at an advanced age also suffered from a certain amount of senility. What I learned from my relationships with each of them, was that the damage to the thought process did not lead to stupidity. And that I was able to retain communication and the pleasure of their company even when they were limited. My preconception of the disease was influenced by the horror I had of it, and it is not as terrible as we fear. I am also reminded of a short book I read on a very similar subject, and would recommend it. It is called Flowers for Algernon by D. Keyes. I read it more than 50 years ago, and it has stayed with me ever since. My very best wishes to you, my dear friend.

  9. I am not sure I totally recognised the idealised description of a student or students, both historical and present day. Elements of what you say are probably – dare I say it -indisputable. I am sure that now I have figuratively committed the lack of some disputation to paper, it will evoke opinion and argument, which, is the nature of the thinking and learning process.

    It is good to have a break from structured brain strain. The thinking mind never stops, even if it is to make basic daily living decisions, or, how to please the cat.

    • How to please the cat is a welcome exercise for me, for it is amusing as much as it’s challenging. And I agree with you that exploration and disputation are an integral part of the learning process. I am very grateful that I was blessed with good teachers, and a fine learning environment rather early in life. At one institution I was told, we are not here to teach you facts, but to teach you how to learn. And of course, menhir, breaks are a part of the learning process. It is always best to take things easy. Best wishes.

  10. Really enjoyed reading this, with all those hidden glimpses of learned wisdom sprinkled throughout. To be in the world, is to be student. Whether your eyes and ears and mind are open or not, you are still learning, every moment, every day. So many opportunities. Such an abundance.

    This had me reminiscing of a time when I was a young mother, and working a full-time job. An opportunity to go to college presented itself, and even though I scarcely had time to turn in a circle, much less to add a full load of classes to my schedule, it was one of the happiest times in my life. I found one subject particularly troubling, which, of course, translated to me signing up for that course first, before any other. Slaying dragons, and all that. Proving my mettle. Testing my abilities. I was determined, and fought my way through by tutoring another student (who happened to be deaf). I made up my mind that the only way I would truly understand was to be if I could teach it to someone else, and not surprisingly, taking that approach worked. It gave me the courage to continue down the path of learning.

    These days, life is still asking me questions. Presenting opportunities. Even when I’d rather be skipping stones, there is still work to be done. The only thing that I can tell that is different now, is that I say “yes” more than I say “no”. I hope that means I’m learning something. 🙂

    • The example you gave us, Nancy, is beautiful. Many teachers I have known, have spoken of learning with their pupils. And truly, being able to teach someone else is the best way to check how well you understand any difficult subject. It seems to me that stubbornness can also be a great advantage to a student. Though some stubborn people take it too far, and suffer from the excess. In your case, I think that you stubbornness is in your favor. Since I first met you, I have always had the impression that you were a good, successful student. This is the way I see myself, and the highest praise I can give. Thank you very much for your comment.

  11. Loved the post and images. After their formal study comes life itself, full of constant learning.

    • True Peter, that that’s the best scenario. Though some people look at it as a chore and try to avoid it, suffering themselves. Best wishes to you. Hope all is well.

  12. Beautiful blog regarding the love of learning. Unfortunately, I see more and more the commercialization of the Universities into factories that turn out technicians to run the modern world. Love of learning is being replaced by greed to make money out of your discoveries, if you ever make any. It’s a sad day for real scholarship.

    • I wouldn’t argue with you, Richard. There are such phenomena. I suppose that when society as a whole puts material possessions at the top of the totem, there are many who only look for that. But even so, there is always a niche for scholars, and as we both know, study is one of the most pleasurable ways to spend one’s time. I will never forget when you were first studying the use of the computer. For quite a while then, it was as if you had disappeared. You didn’t have time for anything else. And this is so typical of the serious student when he chances upon a new field of study. Wishing you continued joy in your research.

  13. What a wonderful post, Shimon! And, yes, what a wonderful pleasure it is to be a student. I have to say that I hold several formal degrees, but I enjoy learning every single day and always will!

    • You and I, both, Cathy. Learning is so much fun. And I see all the signs when I’m visiting your blog. Wishing you continued pleasure. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  14. The very best years of my life Shimon were spent at my university. A wonderful post full of the thoughts of a man who has clearly studied for the pleasure of it all his life. I admire that and identify with it very closely indeed!

    • Just watching your progress in photography, Chillbrook, has given me a good insight as to your capacity for learning. And I know that you changed professions in the middle of life, which is still another sign. Study and learning can open up the world for us, and enable us to do so much more in life. It is truly a path that strengthens us and keeps us healthy. May it bring you happiness all your life.

  15. Here’s hoping I will always be a student.. We should learn everything we can about whatever sets our hearts and minds afire.

    • I’m sure you will be, Bev. Just listening to you speak of our hearts and minds afire, is cause enough to rejoice. Having that fire is a great impetus to learning, and I am happy for you. Best wishes.

  16. yes, dear Shimon, I agree with you, to be a student is one of the beautful things in our life… but actually we do’t know this when we were a student 🙂 Thank you, it was another amazing writing with your photographs. Have a nice day and new week, love, nia

    • Unfortunately, schools have become much more regimented in the last generation. And because many students are under constant pressure, and have to learn great amounts of material… and worry about passing tests. This sort of behavior can take all the fun out of learning. But as you know, people are prone to go along with the crowd. A happy student focuses on the material while he’s studying, and then when the test approaches, he eats well, and sleeps well, and goes to the test with confidence. It is also the way to learn just how much fun study can be. But even if we learn to enjoy the world of study after our first student days, it’s enough. Because as soon as we find out how to enjoy it, we’ll always enjoy it. Wishing you continued learning, Nia, all of your life!

  17. I have to agree with Nia. Unfortunately most young students do not realize what a wonderful time of their life this is and enjoy the learning. The universities put a lot of pressure on students as well, making it hard to relax and learn in a positive manner. That is really too bad.

    • As I was just saying to Nia above, the schools have become too challenging and intense. There is so much focus on the achievements and getting the grades, passing the tests, that some of the fun has been taken out of the process. But it’s never too late. When I was a young student, it was quite popular to take extra courses just to learn other fields of study… not for credit or a degree. But today, college has become sort of an extension of high school. And you find many people going all the way to a doctorate… and then even after that to a post doc. But at whatever stage, once a person learns the pleasure of learning, it’ll stay with him or her all their lives. Thanks for your comment, Angeline.

  18. loved reading and the photos are interesting to watch. very nice post

  19. Medical students (of which I was one) take twice as long at University as anyone else. For me that meant three years at Cambridge where I rubbed shoulders with students across all disciplines and then three in London. Universities are not just places where you study a subject, they are universities of life. The skills you learn are so far reaching in the subtler areas of life as well as the accumulation of knowledge. Eloquently written, Shimon.

    • Nowadays, Andy, I can say that I have a number of friends who are physicians. And even have a daughter who fills that role. But when I was a young student in University, it seemed that those who studied medicine were not among my most interesting colleagues. It seems that there is so much for aspiring doctors to learn, that they don’t have much time for piquant stories. They were always studying with an infinite amount of information that they had to digest. I can see that you’re an exception to that rule, for you have wide horizons, and a very healthy appetite for knowledge. It would be interesting to hear if you were always like that, or whether you opened up after mastering your profession. Very glad you enjoyed the post.

      • I was very fortunate to spend my first 3 years at Cambridge University. That was a huge privilege to mix with such a wide diversity of other students – those who go straight to medical schools don’t have that exposure to other disciplines. You have also highlighted a major factor that makes medical training so exacting. At Cambridge I was so envious of those reading other subjects such as Law, Languages and many other courses who might have just have a single one hour lecture per day to attend, whereas my course would probably have two and then additional practical work in the laboratories and of course the anatomical dissection work. It seemed very arduous in comparison to the workload of other students. I learnt to develop and print B&W film at Cambridge and have been interested in photography ever since then, and I was very fortunate to have parents who were artistic and musical. There’s a saying that within every scientist there is an artist waiting to emerge – the joy of retirement for me is that the science is behind me and the artist now has free reign.

  20. I did enjoy this post, and of course the pictures….especially the cat!
    What a wonderful comment re the infinite presence of the universe and learning to love all living things….and gosh, yes! Life is full of tests and eventually we have to deal with them. You do always have such an interesting unique take on things!
    Sadly, I am a terrible student, I have an awful memory for most things but funnily enough emotions and images remain vivid in my mind and heart however many years have passed. I’m always open to new things though….xxx

    • I have to take you at your word Dina. But I get the feeling that you had some misfortunate experience with some academic framework. Your personality, as I have gotten to know you, seems just right for a student. One of the problems with studies, though, is that people first get to know the life when it is forced on them, and this can make people resistant. When I was a teacher, I had a number of students who were artists, and told me that they had no aptitude for mechanics or scientific work. Usually, it turned out that they had some difficult experience that just soured them on the subject. It takes a lot of learning ability to get along with other species, and you seem to be very good at that. If we lived closer, I would try to change your attitude towards the subject. My very best wishes to you. xxx

      • You have got to know me so well! And of course you are right….re early experiences…
        I was always unhappy in school, mainly because I was always so bored, that must appall you, me saying I was bored, like some spoilt brat!

        Life has never bored me though…there are never enough hours in the day for me to do what I want to do.

        Looking back, in school, nothing seemed relevant to me, and I loathed all lessons….apart from, strangely enough, history and classical studies, which I did enjoy. I walked out of biology when I was fourteen, a subject I had previously enjoyed, when I was expected to carve up and dissect live frogs and mice, I was suspended from school for protesting about it….and lost many friends as it wasn’t exactly cool…poor me eh? Lol! I’m still glad I did that!

        But honestly….interacting with animals is so easy, once you come to understand each species and respect them for what they are, and it comes so naturally to me, we just have to go back to our roots and be what we should have always been, modern living distances people from the natural world, I love being around all animals,what you see is what you get, when you learn to read the signals. That isn’t always the case with people! Give me a rabid dog over a rabid person any day! xxx

        • Okay Dina… now I get the picture. You probably went to school in the company of a number of dumb bells that had to have things explained to them over and over again… long after you got the message, and your mind was looking for new things to munch on… but the teacher was going on and on. This is a well known problem. As for dissecting frogs… the only way I was able to get through that class was by closing my nose with a laundry clip, and then imagining that the frog was really the teacher at the head of the class. Not everyone is built for murder, you know. But I’m sure you’ve been learning ever since you got out of that place. I used to take a book with me at all times, ready to enjoy myself, if I had to wait… or if what was happening in my immediate vicinity was uninteresting. I still do that. Good cheer. xxx

          • Everyone needs to get in the habit of keeping a book with them at all times. That way waiting or uninteresting events can pass by more quickly. Life without books would be… nearly impossible?

  21. These two sentences (and their supporting paragraphs) struck me.
    “The true student doesn’t study for the sake of a degree. Study itself is best unselfish.”

    Brilliant. Humans are creature made for learning. There is so much to learn about any topic. The more one learns, the more they discover how much they don’t know, thus how much there is to learn.

    Unfortunately, learning this about learning takes time … then again, some at least figure it out.

    • So true that the more we learn, the more we see how much we do not know. There is a never ending supply of information waiting out there.

    • Yes, we have a lot of curiosity, Frank. That’s one of the many things that binds me to cats. It is the difference between mankind and cats that bothers me, actually. They have very strong instincts. And we were blessed with an elegant characteristic that could be our undoing: the ability to choose. But I would never give that up. It’s what I love most about human beings. But we do have the curiosity, and a very fine ability to learn. And the evolution of mankind in recorded history is truly marvelous, because it’s all about learning, and following our brains. Thanks very much for your comment.

  22. I am spending a lot of time with my grandson, Anderson. At 5 he is filled with questions and observations. There are times when he gets quiet and I can almost see the thoughts going through his mind…then out comes a question or some comment that shows me he was listening when I spoke of this or of that. Through him, I am still learning. As we take our walks, I point out plants and their names, just one or two so that I don’t overwhelm him. The next time around, he will point them out to me and tell me their names! I did this with my own children and now, all these years later, it is so beautiful to be able to pass all of this on to my grandson. Plus, there is so much more to pass on to him now; not just more experiences but the digital/technical world has opened up so much for us that it is (usually) a pleasure to learn it and pass it on to others. I’m also re-learning that there is no shame in saying “I don’t know” to one of his questions as long as it is followed up by “let’s find out!”

    • Little children are great examples of the learning process. They can learn a second language very easily. They can adapt to all kinds of changes. And as you describe Anderson… he is quite typical of kids his age. A lot of questions… they’re trying to figure everything out. And though they get into mischief some of the time, it’s such a pleasure watching them learning everything around them. Sometimes, formal studies put them off. I hope that your grandchildren will enjoy school, and see the learning process as a wonderful puzzle. Computers have made the process easier, because we’re not so dependent on individual tutors. Aside from that, I agree with you completely, there’s no shame in not knowing something. All we need is a willingness to learn. ‘Let’s find out’ is a great answer to a questioning young person.

  23. I’m pretty sure that the reason of ours many incarnations is linked to the human need to learn… There is so much need to reach the full awareness and enlightenment, that is the final detachment from materiality and all the negative consequence of it… but when I look around me I realize that pain and sorrow are all over and the commiseration of many doesn’t help their upgrading to a more compassionate life. There isn’t a “tomorrow I will do it” we all shall react immediately…
    I wish you a lovely evening
    Claudine

    • Oh, you’re so right, Claudine. Pain and sorrow make for a hard burden. And the knowledge of scholars doesn’t usually help much, when one is suffering. But there are paths to another sort of awareness, an acceptance of the world for what it is, and acceptance of ourselves for what we are. Sometimes such learning can bring consolation even to those who are suffering pain and sorrow. For me personally, music is often the antidote to sorrow. It helps me overcome bouts of sadness. I join you in wishing for a world of greater awareness and happiness. Thanks very much for your comment.

      • Must comment here as I was taught a lesson by a neighbor during my childhood.I’m not sure if she meant it as a lesson or not, but I absorbed it when we visited and she played the piano.

        Playing the piano, or any musical instrument I would imagine, is a great outlet for anger and sorrow. You let the piano comfort you by playing a loud, fast piece when angry, but running your fingers over the keys with a mellow, gentle song for sorrow or the need to calm down. It works for me!

  24. I believe there were some radical thinkers who believed schooling was meant to reduce the creativity of children because a society could only take a small amount.
    Whatever,I learned from playing with buttons that my mother kept in an old dried milk tin. Money was short and buttons were never thrown away.There were different colours and shapes and sizes.Some looked like flowers with petals.Some big ones were fr men’s macs and overcoats.What joy it was to empty the tin onto the table and arrange the buttons is all sorts of ways.
    Other times we played with melted tar from between the cobblestones in the street outside.We made it into different shapesAll of this was learning as was understanding the proportions of flour,sugar and eggs to make different types of cake.
    Another game was to trace the main road at the bottom of the street on a map to see which towns it led to.I think learning needs play and play leads to learning though I would not expect adults to play the way children do or did.I fear that i pads and smartphones will stop children using their hands and brains together like we did.Even now I find it soothing to mend an old vacuum cleaner.
    What stops us learning?Fear.. pride..lack of energy..
    I like the photos especially the ones with shadows in.And we can play with images now using a digital camera since we can delete the ones we don’t like very much.Cracks in a wall or shadows can be intriguing if one looks with an artist’s eye ;even a person with little experience can learn that way.Though some of us don’t want any more change in our lives as we get older.Yet life can be boring without learning and playing.
    I think it’s innate in all humans but somehow it gets blocked off by the rigours of adult life.

    • Yes Katherine, it’s quite true that there are many ways to learn, and without the stress, it can be most enjoyable. I have to say, that I often looked at work as playing, and in that way enjoyed playing most of my life. There was also a period when I enjoyed playing with buttons. Thanks so much for your comment.

  25. …as a student of your thoughtfulness and insights, I enjoy this post very very much. I was once told the greek origins of the word, ‘education’, means ‘to draw out from’. It is obvious from all the comments, that you continue to do exactly that, Simon.

    • Thank you very much Lance. I am pleased to learn the source of the word from Greek. In Hebrew the word comes from the gums in the mouth that hold the teeth. And there is something parallel here, just as the baby is born with gums, and slowly the teeth appear in his mouth, together with his need (including a bit of pain), so we learn and become aware of the world around us as we grow. Best wishes to you.

  26. Shimon, I’ve had this post open in a tab since you wrote it. I’ve tried to formulate a proper response, but I’ve ended up either quoting your entire post back to you, or writing a post of my own in your comment section. Neither’s appropriate, or necessary!

    Suffice it to say you’ve captured in words the very essence of the learning process: curiosity, joy, satisfaction, perseverance. When you posted this, I just had solved a mathematical puzzle presented by another blogger. For me, it was a very big deal, because I’ve lived my whole life convinced that I can’t “do math.” It took three attempts to solve the puzzle, but when I did, your words captured my joy, precisely.

    So. Instead of writing my post here, I’ll save it for my own blog — but I’ll be quoting you instead of some of today’s esteemed “educators,” because you are the one who understand that education truly is a labor of love.
    There’s a reason many in our universities and schools are termed “educrats,” now. They no longer teach. They administer a system.

    • I’ve already noticed that we share similar values, and it is always a great joy for me to find someone like that, whether it is down my street or in cyberspace. Having spent quite a few years teaching in the academia, I can assure you that these values regarding study are not rare there. But strangely enough, are not to be found in the ‘education’ or ‘art’ departments. However because, as I’ve revealed to you, I moved between different types of work and different studies, I did encounter such values quite a bit. Thank you very much for your comment, Linda. And I’m sure I will enjoy every one of your blog posts.

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